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Chinese Spring Festival galas enliven Canadian cities
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Prior to the musical crescendo, the longtime pop singer Wang Jieshi performed "Songs of the Campus," an immediate hit with those of Chinese descent, young and old, who clapped and sang along.

Before that, acrobatic artist Jin Linlin wowed the crowd with "Kicking Umbrellas," an amazing feat that culminated in all hands and feet spinning circular carpets. That was preceded by soloist Wen Shuping performing famous melodies with an apparatus in her teeth that held three lit candles.

Canada's former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Senator Mac Harb, long-time Member of Parliament (MP) Mauril Belanger, and other officials and MPs were present at the show.

"I've always said China is a rising, important nation, both politically and economically," Chretien said. "I've met with the president of China 18 times. I was there with my wife twice last year. I still think it is important to have good relations with the Chinese," he said.

Both Governor General Michaelle Jean and Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent messages to the performance. "This gala will ensure that Chinese Canadians of all ages can remember their past and celebrate their ancestry, keeping a strong connection alive for today's youth and for future generations," said the governor general in the message.

"Culture is a great way to bring people together and share very different artistic talents," said Chinese Ambassador Lu Shumin at a reception before the show. "It all adds up to a better world, not just for any one country in particular." he said.

At 90 years old, Tsin Van, a former newspaper photographer, obviously enjoyed the show. "Tonight was fantastic. I've been in this country 62 years, and to see the traditional Chinese performers with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra - it's the greatest thing."

The China Broadcasting Performing Arts Troupe, which is on a six-city tour of Canada from February 14 to 28, has been to Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Toronto. Edmonton will be its last stop.

(Xinhua News Agency February 26, 2008)

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